– Adam Wainwright can become the first National League to reach 15 wins, but to get there, he’ll have to outpitch Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who is 12-7 with a 2.89 ERA that ranks seventh in the NL. Wainwright is fifth at 2.61. Oddly enough, Rodriguez is 3-7 against the Cardinals in his career, even though he’s limited Albert Pujols to a .120 average and no extra-base hits or RBI in 25 at-bats.
– After No. 7 takes on No. 5 in St. Louis, No. 6 and No. 3 will duel in San Francisco. Arizona‘s Dan Haren was the NL’s most effective pitcher in the first half, but he’s 3-3 with a 4.91 ERA since the break, dropping him behind five pitchers. Cain currently has a 2.4305 ERA, while teammate Lincecum is at 2.4281. Both are trailing Chris Carpenter at 2.16.
– 25-year-old right-hander Armando Gabino will make his major league debut for the Twins tonight after going 5-3 with a 2.83 ERA, 65 H and 55/22 K/BB in 86 IP for Triple-A Rochester. A reliever for most of the year, he had made just five starts — and one of those was an abbreviated three-inning outing Friday to put him in line to pitch tonight. Gabino throws in the low-90s consistently as a reliever and has displayed an improved changeup this year. He’s a long shot to last as a starting pitcher, but he’s proven to be a nice find for a guy originally picked up in the minor league Rule 5 draft.
Game of the Night
Los Angeles vs. Colorado – With the NL West gap down to three games after the Rockies’ walkoff grand slam against the Giants last night, the Dodgers travel to Colorado to begin a three-game series tonight. The Dodgers would seem to have the right pitcher on the mound in Clayton Kershaw, but they’ve actually lost each of the left-hander’s last six starts, even though he has allowed just 11 runs during the span. Plus, Kershaw is 2-3 with a 6.07 ERA against Colorado in his career. The Rockies will throw Jason Hammel, who like Kershaw, is 8-7 on the season. It will be a rematch of a July 1 game which the Dodgers won 1-0, leaving Hammel with a complete-game loss. The difference is that tonight’s contest will be in Coors Field, where Hammel is 2-3 with a 7.02 ERA this season.
While newly-acquired talent Danny Espinosa was off collecting hits for the Blue Jays against the Orioles, Marcus Stroman led a youth-filled roster against the Canadian Junior National Team in a split-squad game on Saturday. In the eighth inning, 17-year-old Canadian pitcher Braden Halladay took the mound to honor his late father’s memory against his former team.
Halladay accomplished just that, wielding a fastball that topped out in the low-80s and setting down a perfect 1-2-3 inning against the top of the lineup. No one batter saw more than a single pitch from the right-hander: Mc Gregory Contreras and Mattingly Romanin flew out to the outfield corners and Bo Bichette laid down a ground ball for an easy third out.
MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm has a fantastic profile of the high school junior, including his approach to the game and his attempt to do Roy Halladay proud while carving out his own path to the majors. “From a pitching standpoint, it was everything I could have asked for and more,” Halladay told reporters. “Especially now, every time I make mistakes, I still hear him drilling me about them in my head, just because he’s done it so many times before. From a mind-set standpoint, I don’t think with any bias that I could have had a better teacher.”